The Garmin 60CSx portable is the latest incarnation in the 60-series handheld GPS lineup and our latest Garmin portable GPS review. The ‘x’ in the model designation adds a removable memory card and a high-sensitivity GPS receiver.
It shares all the utility of earlier 60-series versions and has both a built-in electronic compass and barometric altimeter. These two sensors get this handheld the “S” designation.
The case measures 5 inches high, 2.2 inches wide, and 1.2 inches deep. The antenna is molded into the top of the case and adds another 1.5 inches to the height. The 60CSx weighs in at 7.2 ounces.
Eight pushbuttons and a rocker switch located on the case front panel operate this unit. The off/on pushbutton resides on top adjacent to the antenna. Holding this button turns down for a second or so cranks the unit up, two more quick pushes brings the screen brightness to its highest level.
Because of the pushbutton location near the bottom of the case we found the Garmin 60CSx easiest to operate by holding the unit with one hand and operating it with the other.
The Garmin 60CSx utilizes the latest version of Garmin’s handheld GPS software and interfaces with the user through dedicated pushbuttons and pages.
A simple press of the Mark button puts a waypoint at your present position and opens the waypoint page letting you edit the symbol, name, note, and coordinates. Waypoint names can be up to 14 characters long and are input via an onscreen cursor controlled keypad.
The Satellite page displays tracked satellite location and signal strength, battery status, present position in latitude and longitude as well as position accuracy in feet.
Three navigational pages follow with each press of the Page button. First you’ll find the Trip Computer page which displays either three or eight user changeable data boxes.
Next comes the Map page, here you can display a full page map or add up to four data boxes, again all user selectable.
The last of the navigational pages is the Compass page. Half the screen space is used by a large compass rose and the other half by either three or four data boxes. Again, the user can select the data to be displayed in the boxes and either degrees or cardinal headings for the compass.
In the Garmin 60CSx the compass display is driven by the internal electronic compass and provides information even when the unit is stationary. It works much like a handheld wet compass. The unit should be held level and steady to get accurate readings. The point where the compass transitions over to GPS data can be adjusted by the user.
Another push of the page button takes the user to the altimeter page. This page can display altitude, barometric pressure, and track one data point like the pressure over time in a graphical format.
The final page is the Menu page, it leads you to a number of other lists or sub-menus including Tracks, Routes, Setup, Calendar, Calculator, and others.
The page list and sequence can be changed by the user. We added the Highway navigation page and Sun and Moon data pages to our list of active pages.
The Highway page uses four data boxes on the top of the page with a graphical direction display on the bottom for easy navigation to a waypoint.
Sun and Moon gives the user quick access to sunrise, sunset, moonrise, and moonset times.
One thing we dont like about this and other 60-series handhelds is the lack of onboard tide prediction tables or buoy data, you can add this by downloading the information from a Garmin MapSource CD or by purchasing a pre-loaded memory card.
A 2.6-inch (diagonal) 256-color TFT screen with a resolution of 160 x 240 occupies the upper two-thirds of the case front. This high-resolution screen is sharp and clear making the edges of small fonts and circles smooth to view. There are no pixilation issues here.
We rated daylight viewability very good. You can choose from one of ten daytime color palettes. The night lighting on this unit is sophisticated for a handheld unit. It has a 21 position slider to set screen brightness as well as an automatic day or night color selection. This last one can also be set manually by the user to day or night.
There are ten night color palettes to pick from. As we mentioned before you can also use the on/off button to select three screen brightness levels. All the pushbuttons are backlit for easy night viewing.
The 60CSx comes standard with a blank 64 MB microSD card to store downloadable data like charts, user waypoints, and routes. You can load optional map data by purchasing either a Garmin MapSource CD or a pre-loaded map card.
Access to the battery compartment, data port, external antenna jack, and USB port are all located on the rear of the case. The microSD card is located inside the battery compartment and requires battery removal for access.
This unit ships with the Garmin MapSource Trip and Waypoint Manager CD and USB cable to allow transfer of waypoint, route, and track data between the 60CSx and a personal computer.
The unit can store up to 1000 waypoints and as many as 50 routes. It has a one-year warranty period and is rated water resistant to IPX7 standards. That means it can be submerged to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes and not be damaged. It passed our submersion test but aware it did not float.
The 60CSx gets our vote for its excellent color display screen and user friendly software package.